The Parenting Journey of Mothers of Young Adults with Multiple Impairments

  • Joyce Magill-Evans
  • Johanna Darrah
  • Nancy L. Galambos
Original Article


Parenting children with cerebral palsy can impact parental health and life satisfaction but few studies have addressed parenting a young adult with multiple impairments. This mixed methods study examined 21 mothers’ well being at 2 time points; when their child with cerebral palsy was 13–22 years old and when their child was 20–30 years old. Scores on three questionnaires indicated that, on average, mothers’ life satisfaction, social support, and perceptions of family functioning did not change significantly between assessment points. Six mothers reported low life satisfaction at both time points. Qualitative analysis of semi-structured interviews at Time 2 revealed that 15 mothers reported physical and/or emotional health challenges as a result of the parenting demands. Their work choices were also affected. For most mothers, their experiences of parenting young adults with extensive impairments had influenced their views of disability, themselves, and life in a positive manner.


Cerebral palsy Multiple impairments Young adulthood Mothers Quality of life 



The study was funded by Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research and Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR). Johanna Darrah was funded by a New Investigator award from CIHR. We thank the mothers who gave of their precious free time to share their insights with us.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joyce Magill-Evans
    • 1
  • Johanna Darrah
    • 2
  • Nancy L. Galambos
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Occupational TherapyUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.Department of Physical TherapyUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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